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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Another stupid mistake by tea party darling Christine O’Donnell

Delaware candidates for U.S. Senate Christine O'Donnell, right, and Chris Coons debate at Widener Law School in Wilmington Tuesday, October 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Robert Craig, Pool)

Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, a tea party candidate whose lack of grasp of issues shocks even the party faithful, shocked a law school audience during a debate Tuesday when she claimed the Constitution didn’t call for a on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state.

O’Donnell didn’t even know the provision is part of the First Amendment. In fact, she didn’t appear to have any idea what was in the amendment.

In a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, O’Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons’ position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked.

Coons said the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell’s eyes widened and she responded: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

Her claimed generated both gasps and a buzz in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone told The Associated Press, adding that McDonnell’s ignorance of the issue raised questions about O’Donnell’s grasp of the Constitution.

Erin Daly, a Widener constitutional law professor , added that while there are questions about what counts as government promotion of religion, there is little debate over whether the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from making laws establishing religion.

“She seemed genuinely surprised that the principle of separation of church and state derives from the First Amendment, and I think to many of us in the law school that was a surprise,” Daly said. “It’s one thing to not know the 17th Amendment or some of the others, but most Americans do know the basics of the First Amendment.”

O’Donnell didn’t respond to reporters who asked her to clarify her views after the debate.

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8 thoughts on “Another stupid mistake by tea party darling Christine O’Donnell”

  1. If socratic irony had been her intention and/or a potential attempt to point out that the term “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution in specifically that phrase, then her lack of follow-up to make that point, or any point, still does not lend credence to her having any useful degree of intelligence.

  2. O’donnell’s point, it would seem, is at location can one find the phrase “separation of church and state” in the constitution. AND of course, one can’t, because it’s not there.

    • that would be “what location”… damned inability to edit once the fast fickle finger finds the frickin enter key!

  3. I can just imagine how her handlers must cringe every time she opens her mouth. A Palindrone so to speak.

  4. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” I understand where she was going with that technique. It is called Socratic Irony. Although I devoutly believe in the “Separation of Church and State” within the context of any legislative imposition because neither God nor country are well served in those instances. De Facto official separation is quite different from the “there will never be an official religion” intented by the writers.

    I would also suggest that if every religion can be described in the more secular terms as “organized belief systems” then Atheism is a member in good standing within this group. That said, by court decisions, I would say that we have violated the very intent of the first ammendment by establishment of Atheism as our official belief system (religion). After all, whose belief system has been sucessfully established and whose belief systems have been crushed?

    Perhaps I am stretching a bit but that’s where I “believe” she was going.

    • Hi Conrad and welcome to CHB. : ) I have a fairly good memory and generally remember everyone that’s ever posted to this forum.

      “I understand where she was going with that technique.” …extract from post

      To believe she was “headed” anywhere concerning her thought processes is very generous on your part, but for some reason I don’t think Ms. O’Donnell is familiar with “Socratic Irony” for educating those less edified than herself concerning the law or anything else for that matter predicated on her track record to date in the political arena.

      I truly believe this person has an average intellect and the same for a grasp of the issues. Also with she admitting to her involvement in “witchcraft” while on the campaign trail tells me that she’s a “loose cannon on deck”.

      Btw, all the trials and tribulations of civilization can be traced back to so-called ‘belief systems run amok. / : |

      Carl Nemo **==

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